Last Updated: Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:15 pm (KSA) 09:15 am (GMT)

Israeli forces curfew after "apartheid wall" demo

Israeli soldiers detain foreign peace protestors during a demo against separation wall
Israeli soldiers detain foreign peace protestors during a demo against separation wall

Israel enforced a curfew in the West Bank village of Nilin on Sunday after dozens of people were wounded in weeks of protests against a proposed extension of its controversial separation barrier.

"Since this morning there has been a curfew in Nilin due to the significant rise in violence near the Palestinian village," a military spokesman said. "For over two months violent riots have taken place in Nilin."

The protests have been aimed at a proposed extension of Israel's controversial separation barrier, which villagers say will rob them of some 2500 dunams (250 hectares) of land near the proposed route.

The demonstrations have been modeled on those of the nearby village of Bilin, where residents have protested the barrier on a weekly basis for over two years and in September won a court injunction against its proposed route.

Israel says the 650-kilometre (405-mile) barrier is necessary to protect it from terrorist attacks. The Palestinians call it an "apartheid wall" and complain that large chunks of the West Bank are cut off as a result.

Dozens of demonstrators have been wounded during protests in recent weeks, and on Sunday alone 13 Palestinians were treated for rubber bullet wounds and dozens more for tear gas inhalation, according to local medics.

During the last two months at least 10 Israelis have been wounded, including three soldiers, five border policemen, and two maintenance workers, and several vehicles have been damaged by rocks, the army said.

In 2004 the International Court of Justice issued a non-binding ruling declaring parts of the barrier illegal because they were built inside the occupied West Bank, but Israel has pressed ahead with its construction.

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